Graduated in 2018 with a major in Professional Music. Principal instrument: voice
Position: Domestic Violence Program Coordinator at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a very large human services nonprofit organization with many clinics in the Los Angeles area. Sarah coordinates the Domestic Violence and Emergency Home Services programs at her clinic. In addition to supervising six other employees (mostly case managers), Sarah publicizes her program to the community, audits other people’s work, helps grant writers obtain new grants, and meets regularly with both her boss and others in the organization. She also stands ready to assist those she supervises if a client or situation is particularly difficult. Every day is different!
Overview: In late high school and early college, Sarah was in an unhealthy, violent relationship, which ended shortly after she transferred to Berklee. At Berklee, she became heavily involved with Berklee SAAVE (Student Allies in Anti-Violence Education), and took as many gender studies as she could as part of her major. The then Health-and-Wellness coordinator who worked with SAAVE encouraged Sarah to get a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree and pursue a career in anti domestic violence. By the time she graduated, Sarah was determined to do this, but she needed to work and make money first. She moved to L.A. in August 2018 to be with loved ones, and spent most of the year working a variety of jobs. She applied to grad school the following spring, getting into USC’s Online Masters in Social Work program, which she started in September, 2019 and quickly pursued their Social Change & Innovation track.
Graduating in December 2020, Sarah then spent almost five frustrating months looking for a job. She had plenty of real-life experience, but no directly relevant work experience, and most places declared her either overqualified or underqualified. Many of the jobs paid terribly. Finally, after sending out at least ten applications per day, Sarah found her current job, which fit her interests perfectly. She really clicked with her now-boss, who also had a MSW and was certain Sarah could handle the work, and she was hired into her current position.
You can see Sarah’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “Not a day goes by that I’m not heartbroken by something I see, but this job is a way to take all the privilege I’ve been given and do something good with it. The thing I want to give back the most is education–not enough people understand the weight of domestic violence in general and that it’s the #3 cause of homelessness. I want people who come to us to know they won’t be judged and will be safe. We care about them so much. It’s lovely to do something I really care about every day.”
“If you’re going through an unhealthy relationship, please reach out to me! There are resources at Berklee too.”
“Social work is all about people and how you interact with people. That’s a lot what music is about too. Focus on getting to know people, be present, develop your empathy–which can be done through music. I learned so much at Berklee with people from all different backgrounds and cultures and walks of life. Treat everyone as someone you can learn something from. go in with an open mind. Social services is meeting and respecting where people are and believing in the inherent dignity and worth of everyone.”
“In the pro-music program, there’s talk about developing yourself as a marketable artist — your business plan, goals, etc. That sort of critical thinking is really helpful–I still do it! Am I doing what I want? Am I being perceived the way I want to be?”
“Music is so therapeutic for me. If I’m having any big emotion, I’m listening to music, writing music, playing music with my sister, looking for new music. Anytime I need to calm down or get a feeling out, music is my outlet.”
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